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What’s the deal with ‘lazy girl jobs’? (Hint: It’s not laziness.)

There’s a hot new job title going around that you won’t find on anybody’s résumé.Maura Intemann/Globe Staff Photo Illustration/Adobe

There’s a hot new job title going around that you won’t find on anybody’s résumé: The so-called lazy girl job.

These coveted positions — according to those who boast about them on social media — have a few ground rules, according to Gabrielle Judge, a self-proclaimed “anti work” influencer who purportedly coined the term in a viral TikTok video in May.

In the video, which has racked up more than 3.6 million views, Judge describes the peak “lazy girl job” as one that pays enough to afford the cost of living, offers flexible hours, and allows the employee to truly “exercise work-life balance.”

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@gabrielle_judge

Career advice for women who don’t know what remote job to apply to. You can bay your bills at not feel tired at the end of the day. Women are here to collect those pay checks and move on from the work day. We have so much more fun stuff happeneing in our 5-9 that is way more important than a boss that you hate. #corporatejobs #jobsearchhacks #remoteworking #antihustleculture #9to5

♬ original sound - Gabrielle👸🏻

If you’re wondering when those criteria began qualifying as “lazy,” you’re not alone.

“I hear it and I’m like, oh my gosh, this is a branding issue,” said Emily Worden, a Boston-based career coach, likening it to a slew of other recent viral workplace trends. “This is another spin on the ‘quiet quitting,’ ‘the loud quitting,’ ‘the bare minimum Mondays,’ ‘bed rotting.’”

To be sure, many of the videos carrying the #lazygirljob hashtag feature workers — yes, they typically are women — extolling the low-stakes nature of their careers. They brag about their cozy work-from-home setups, the frequency of their breaks, and the dearth of meetings. If the TikToks are any indication, other benefits of lazy girl jobs appear to include wearing oversized hoodies as professional attire and binge-watching TV while typing away at a laptop.

But dig a little deeper and a different reality becomes clear: These self-identified lazy girls — who carry titles like marketing associate, account manager, or customer success manager, according to Judge — appear far from lazy. They work on data reports while under fuzzy blankets and process payments while munching on Cheetos.

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“I love my lazy girl job. All I do is data entry, scan, fax, email all day, maintain the office, and help the [doctor] when needed,” said one user, who claimed to work in a chiropractic office. At another time, that would be called working as an office manager or as a receptionist.

Make no mistake, work is central to young employees’ sense of identity, according to the 2023 Millennial and Gen Z survey from the professional services firm Deloitte. But the survey also found that work-life balance was a top priority for younger workers when seeking out an employer, coinciding with a rising interest in part-time roles and shortened work weeks.

So why is “lazy girl” — a self-deprecating term at best — appearing to resonate with some younger workers?

Worden, the career coach, said it’s part of a broader push for work-life balance being wrapped in a buzzy anti-work sentiment. Judge herself later clarified that the term “does not mean that you’re being lazy” and was “put in there for marketing.” (Clearly, it’s working.)

Worden believes the embrace of the lazy girl job is a reaction to years of “hustle culture” and the “grind mindset.” Just as “meeting expectations” became “quiet quitting,” and “actively seeking out new opportunities” became “rage applying,” the “lazy girl job” is a misnomer. But it’s one that says something about how younger workers have internalized that anything less than living and breathing their work is equivalent to slacking off.

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“I think it feeds into that narrative where you’re hearing older employers saying, ‘No one wants to work anymore,’” Worden said. “And they’re right — in the sense that no one wants to work those 60 to 80 hours a week for not great pay and no guarantee of advancement.”

Hana Ben-Shabat, the founder of Gen Z Planet, a New York-based research and advisory firm, said the trend is also a reflection of the still-tight labor market, where employees often have the option to pursue jobs that meet their needs.

“It’s a way of cultural messaging to say that they won’t put up with leaders that they don’t trust. They will not take unfair pay. They’re unwilling to invest in companies that are not willing to invest in them. And they’re definitely not going to put up with a burnout culture,” Ben-Shabat said.

Worden urged young people not to post themselves on social media living the “lazy girl” life at their desk, lest they end up in an awkward meeting with HR. But Andrew Roth, founder of the New York-based Gen Z consulting firm dcdx, said as long as workers are getting their jobs done, employers could choose to interpret the moniker as a sort of compliment.

“This is not saying anything bad about the company,” Roth said, “it’s just saying they respect that this is a place where they feel like they can have a balance.”

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@kierstincarter

Dont get me wrong its hard work but hey. Id rather be inside than outside doin labor work🤩 #fyp #funny #humor #corporate #corporategirlies #lawfirm #paralegal

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And even those not ready to hop on the LGJ bandwagon may learn something from the trend about asserting professional boundaries. According to a follow-up TikTok video from Judge, anyone who closes their laptop when they’re done with work can qualify as having a lazy girl job — at its core, the trend promotes the mindset of cultivating a life apart from work.

Still, while Worden said she understands the intention behind the trend, she believes young workers would be better served by popularizing “a more empowering sort of phrase.”

“Something that’s like, ‘I’m being strong here, and I’m protecting myself,’ as opposed to ‘I’m being lazy,’” Worden said.


Dana Gerber can be reached at dana.gerber@globe.com. Follow her @danagerber6.